Paul warned that anyone who takes the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner “drinks judgment on himself.” Therefore, he calls us to “examine” ourselves and “then . . . eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” But how do we do that? If our hearts are deceitful and lead us to evil and idolatry, how shall we be able to examine ourselves? Thankfully, as with all aspects of salvation, God provides what he demands, and the answer comes in the working of God’s Word and God’s Spirit.
“Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
— Psalm 19:12–14 —
How do you approach the Lord’s table when your heart is uncertain of its spiritual condition? If you question the errors of our heart, as David did in Psalm 19 (“Who can discern his errors?”), what will compel you to take the Lord’s Supper confidently? Will you withdraw from the bread and the cup when sin plague’s your soul? Or might the Lord’s Supper be an appointed means of reconciliation via remembrance?
These are not hypothetical questions, but realities Christians face as we commune with a holy God. Paul warned that anyone who takes the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner “drinks judgment on himself” (1 Corinthians 11:29). Therefore, he calls us to “examine” ourselves and “then . . . eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (v. 28).
But how do we do that? If our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9) and lead us to evil and idolatry (see Jeremiah 3:17; 13:10; 18:12), how shall we be able to examine ourselves? Thankfully, as with all aspects of salvation, God provides what he demands, and the answer comes in the working of God’s Word and God’s Spirit.
By means of God’s Word, the Holy Spirit enables God’s children to examine themselves rightly and to come to the Table with fresh faith and repentance. Indeed, consider three ways the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to prepare you for the Lord’s Table. Or to put it the other way, here are three ways you should, by the Spirit, prepare your heart for communion with the Word of God.
The Spirit And The Word
First, the Spirit Opens Our Eyes to Loathe Our Sins
As children born of God read the Scriptures, the Spirit stirs our affections to hate the sin we find resident within us. At the same time, he gives power to confess, crucify, and turn away from sin. In fact, in speaking of the new covenant, which we celebrate at the Lord’s Table, Ezekiel 36:31 says, “Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations.” As odd-sounding as this verse may be, part of God’s sanctifying work is to make us “loathe ourselves” for the sin in us.